How many credits are required to be eligible for disability benefits?

Again, this is an SSDI concept. It does not apply to SSI. The number of work credits you need to qualify for SSDI benefits depends on your age at the time you become disabled. Also, the credits must have been earned within a certain time period. Generally, you need 20 credits earned in the last 10 years, ending with the year you become disabled. Generally, you must have worked five out of the last 10 years. Younger workers may qualify with fewer credits. For example:

  • A worker who becomes disabled before age 24 needs to have earned six credits in the three-year period ending when disability starts.
  • A worker who becomes disabled between ages 24 and 31 needs to have credits for half the time between age 21 and the time disability starts. If disability starts at age 27, the worker would need credit for three years of work (12 credits) out of the past six years between age 21 and age 27.